The State Fair Lady Roadrunners (25-4, 9-3 in Region 16) will open Region 16 Tournament play tonight with a quarter-final match-up against the Crowder Lady Riders. The Lady Roadrunners won both regular season games between the teams. State Fair won at home on January 27 by a score of 97-65. They also traveled to Neosho, Missouri on February 13 and won 82-69.
Tonight, State Fair will be faced with the challenge of trying to beat a team three times in one season. "The big thing is for players to stay motivated and hungry. We have been preaching to them one loss and that's it. You can have a bad shooting night, but your defense has to be there, the intensity has to be there, and the hunger has to be there," said Assistant Coach Kevin Bucher
Crowder (10-20, 2-10 in Region 16) is led by a trio of double-figure scorers. Freshman Jaimee Shields leads the team with 13 points a game. Freshman Sierra McSpadden is second, averaging 12.1 points per game. Freshman KhyrstynBrumley is third with 10.5 points per game.
"You can't let them get comfortable in their shooting stances. We want to make sure we have good defensive pressure, whether it be by helping out, or doubling down the block with some of their post players… It's going to take a team effort," said Bucher.
Bucher expects Crowder to play some zone defense in this game. "We are going to have to move the ball around a lot…make that extra pass to get someone open for a wide-open shot compared to a shot that’s probably a good shot, but we can still get a better shot," said Bucher.
Coach Bucher likes the way the bracket sets up for State Fair. Moberly will host Mineral Area and Three Rivers travels to Iowa Western. Jefferson received a first-round bye.
Bucher sees two keys to this game for Lady Roadrunners. "The keys for us are to play good full court pressure defense to wear down their guards….We want to push the ball as much as possible and make it an up tempo game, because that really plays into our favor with our players," said Bucher.
If the Lady Roadrunners win this evening, they will play the winner of the Three Rivers versus Iowa Western game Friday night at Jason Gym on the campus of LincolnUniversity in Jefferson City, Missouri. The State Fair men will play Friday night in a Region Semi-final against Three Rivers at in Hillsboro, Missouri.